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Thinking about your child’s future is important, even from an early age. However, you should also be informed about what the best careers are—whether it be because of demand, salary, flexibility, or growth in specific fields. This is why, when considering a possible career for your child, you should think about medicine.

Careers in medicine are always in demand. According to the 2020 Association of American Medical Colleges Physician shortage report, population growth and aging continue to be the primary driver of increasing demand from 2018 to 2033. During this period, the U.S. population is projected to grow by 10.4%—from about 327 million to 361 million. But what are the best careers in medicine, and why are they in demand?

Osteopathic Medicine

Osteopathic medicine is one of the fastest growing branches of the medical profession: doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DOs) make up approximately 11% of the American physician population, and the profession has grown 63% in the past decade and nearly 300% over the past three decades. One of the reasons for this dramatic increase may have something to do with the versatility of being a DO.

A DO is a fully trained and licensed physician that practices in all types of medicine; as a result, they are well-rounded, specially trained doctors that offer broad, thorough care focusing on preventative medicine and overall patient wellbeing. Training includes four years of medical school, as well as internships, residencies, and fellowships. By focusing on the body as a whole rather than specific areas, DOs enjoy the flexibility of multiple career choices including primary care, family medicine, internal medicine, and more.

Dentistry

Dentistry is another growing field that offers both career flexibility and options. Careers in dentistry run the gamut from a general dentist (DDS), to oral surgeons and include periodontists, orthodontists, dental assistants, dental hygienists, and more. One of the benefits of a career in dentistry is the number of fields that vary in necessary training in requirements; therefore a successful career is attainable even without having to go to dental school.

The demand for careers in dentistry is also increasing as people get older, as an aging population often requires more areas of specialized care and treatments. For example, periodontal disease is a common dental condition that only increases with age; about 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease. This is just one reason why careers in dentistry are so desirable—combined with the variety of job options; job flexibility and environments; and training programs and degrees, dentistry will remain a competitive and growing field for years to come.

Healthcare Technology

Medicine is a broad and ever-evolving field that is not just limited to careers as doctors, nurses, or other medical practitioners whose main focus is patient care and treatment. As technology continues to advance, there is a growing need for experts in the field of healthcare technology. While still related to the field of medicine, careers in healthcare technology focus more on the technological side of things—opening up a number of career opportunities.

Technicians, scientists, and researchers all rely on varying degrees of technological knowledge and specialized training to add their expertise to every aspect of the medical profession. From careers such as a diagnostic sonographer, who is responsible for expert diagnostic care with specialties that can include cardiovascular health, pediatrics, and abdominal health; to careers in 3D printing using biomedical engineering; and positions in healthcare management that can range from working in patient records to healthcare technology support; the field of healthcare technology is diverse, exciting, and continues to grow.

Careers in medicine will always be in demand, especially as an aging population’s healthcare needs continue to increase. It’s never too early to think about your child’s next steps in regard to education, development, and possible career interests; so, when thinking about the future, consider the benefits of a career in medicine that offers the best in growth, salary, diversity, and flexibility.